Desolation Sound and Fjords of BC

Discover Nature in its Purest Form

This journey among the islands and fjords of the storied British Columbia coast includes Desolation Sound and the Broughton Archipelago, as well as neighbouring inlets.

Points of Interest


Desolation Sound and Fjords of BC

Adventure by Small Ship Through Rugged Landscapes and Vibrant Colors

From backwaters to wildlife hotspots to cultural sites, this journey among the islands and fjords of the storied British Columbia coast includes Desolation Sound and the Broughton Archipelago as well as neighbouring inlets. This is the place off the edge of Vancouver Island that most people never see.

Snowcapped mountains, glacier-fed fjords, calm and scenic cruising are the backdrop to our journey through the nature and wildlife of the west coast – from rainforest to bears and dolphins. On the cultural side, we partner with the Klahoose Nation to experience their bear viewing in a fjord; work with the Namgis U’mista Cultural Centre in Alert Bay, and usually visit local legend Billy Proctor and other out-of-the-way places, too.

Itinerary Details
  • Ships: Swell and Cascadia
  • Duration: 8 Days
  • Ports: Port McNeill, Nanaimo, Port Hardy

Experience Desolation Sound

See Desolation Sound through the eyes of our guests

What People Say

See what our guests have to say about our Desolation Sound adventures.

    “The Desolation Sound journey exceeded our expectations. From the crew greetings, pier side, assistance with our bags, and transfer from tender to splash deck on Cascadia, we were impressed with the friendliness, helpfulness and professionalism of expedition leader Kevin and crew”

    Elsbeth D., Tripadvisor

    “This was a trip of a lifetime for me. To sail was on my bucket list. Kevin and his crew made my trip unforgettable. What an experience. We were able to crew as little or as much as we wanted. The food was excellent and the accommodations were more than comfortable”

    Marie T., Tripadvisor

    “This was the best small ship cruise we have done – hands down (we’ve done six). The vessel was understated luxury (MV Cascadia), the crew was competent, friendly and experienced (and fun), the wildlife, scenery and nature were spectacular and the food and wine pairings were exceptional”

    Charlie-Niagara, Tripadvisor

    “’Wild and wooly’ within a pristine wilderness. Pushing life to the limit. The best of days from sunrise to sunset. Thank you for the opportunity to rejuvenate our spirits. Merci from two Victorians and ex-Montrealers”

    Sheila Madill and Bill Fuller, Victoria, BC


Experience Nature Without the Summer Crowds

Wildlife, autumn foliage, mountains, sailing, and island hopping.

Rainforest Trails

See up close the unique colors of arbutus trees laden in red berries that fruit in autumn.

Solitude in Nature

Fall offers a quieter and more intimate experience, allowing you to immerse yourself in the region’s beauty.

Remarkable Wildlife

We have the place almost to ourselves to enjoy whales, seabirds, and fjordland grizzlies fishing for salmon. 

Adventure Beyond the Roadmap

With expert locals to guide you, you’ll discover hidden coves, wander beaches, and kayak among the fjords.

Inquire Today

Contact us for more information or to Book Your Expedition Adventure!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to your questions about our Desolation Sound itineraries. Refer to our Frequently Asked Questions for more general trip and booking information.

To reach Port McNeill or Port Hardy, you can fly Pacific Coastal Airlines through Vancouver Airport or Victoria Airport to Port Hardy Airport, a 30 minute drive to Port McNeill. Taxi services are readily available at the airport when you land. Contact information for taxi companies is provided to you before your tour, should you need to call the taxi upon your arrival. At the end of your tour your captain will arrange a taxi pick up at the marina to take you to the airport. We do not recommend driving as the start and end ports are a considerable distance from each other.

Our schedule is designed to accommodate incoming flights on the day of departure and most guests will arrive on the day. But, if you would like to arrive a little early to avoid the stress of possible flight delays, you will find recommendations for local hotels and activities in your welcome aboard package.

The weather in Desolation Sound during fall can be changeable. As the season transitions, temperatures tend to become cooler, and you can expect a mix of mild and cooler temperatures. Average highs range from 10-15°C (50s to 60s Fahrenheit), with potentially cooler evenings. Fall in Desolation Sound also brings a higher chance of rainfall, so we recommend packing waterproof layers and rain gear. Be sure to check the weather forecast closer to your travel dates for the most accurate information.

While Desolation Sound is renowned for its rich wildlife, including bears, it’s important to understand that sightings cannot be guaranteed. Bears are wild creatures, and their presence and visibility can be affected by various factors such as food availability, weather conditions, and their natural behaviors. Nevertheless, our knowledgeable guiding crew and the thriving ecosystems of Desolation Sound greatly enhance the chances of encountering bears during your trip, offering an exciting possibility for wildlife enthusiasts. For trips in the fall, we work in partnership with the Klahoose Nation to offer a unique bear viewing experience. This excursion coincides with the return of salmon in the area, providing opportunity to see coastal grizzly bears fishing on the plenty.

Desolation Sound is part of the larger ecosystem of the Pacific Northwest, which is known for its rich marine life, including whales. While there is a good possibility of seeing whales during your trip, it’s important to note that wildlife sightings can never be guaranteed. Whales are wild animals that roam and follow their own migration patterns. Our knowledgeable crew and naturalists will do their best to locate and observe whales if they are present in the area.

Dates & Rates

Discover the stunning beauty of the BC and Alaska coast on a boutique nature and wildlife expedition. Browse our dates and rates and find the perfect trip for you.

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